NFL's Goodell Says Labor Dispute Already Affecting League Income

Commissioner Roger Goodell said labor uncertainty is already affecting National Football League revenue as the U.S.’s most-watched television sport negotiates a collective bargaining agreement with its players.

“The impact of not having a labor agreement is already starting,” Goodell said today in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “It will continue to grow. It will continue to have a greater and greater impact and my point is that there will be lost revenue opportunities. And when revenue is reduced, it’s even harder to reach an agreement.”

The commissioner didn’t provide examples of revenue declines.

Goodell, in London for this weekend’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos, said uncertainty makes it difficult for sponsors to plan effectively.

“The longer this uncertainty continues about the future, the harder it is on our partners and the fans,” Goodell said.

Owners voted in 2008 to shorten the collective bargaining agreement by two years through the end of this season, saying the share of revenue that players receive doesn’t account for costs such as those of building stadiums. The last labor agreement gave players about 60 percent of the league’s $8 billion in revenue.

George Atallah, a spokesman for the NFL Players Association, didn’t immediate return a telephone call and e-mail sent before business hours seeking comment. Players have said they won’t agree to a deal that amounts to a pay cut and have asked the NFL to document its financial concerns.

Goodell said much work remains before labor and management reach a deal.

“We’ve got a responsibility to make sure we do everything possible to get a labor agreement that’s fair for all parties,” Goodell said. “I am convinced that it can get done and we have to do it. It’s going to require focus and it’s going to require everyone working hard to make sure it gets done. I have made it very clear, though, that I think the sooner it gets done the better.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Kuriloff in New York at akuriloff@bloomberg.net; Michele Steele in New York at msteele10@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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